The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) in Jena was founded in 2014 in an effort to explore fundamental questions about human evolution and history since the Palaeolithic
Until 2021, it consisted of three interdisciplinary departments integrating methods and research questions from the natural sciences and the humanities: the Department of Archaeology, the Department of Archaeogenetics, and the Department of Language and Cultural Evolution. As part of a process of restructuring, the departments of Archaeogenetics and Linguistic and Cultural Evolution have moved to the MPI-EVA in Leipzig, while the MPI-SHH is exploring new scientific directions through the concept of the Human Niche. The MPI-SHH is also home to multiple independent research groups.
Research at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is dedicated to the following questions:
- the settlement history of the world through past human migrations and genetic admixture events
- the impact of climatic and environmental change on human subsistence in different world regions
- human modification of ecosystems
- past human nutrition
- the spread and diversification of human-associated microbes and infectious diseases
- the spread and diversification of languages, cultures, and social practices
- the co-evolution of genes and culture
The MPI-SHH has an International Max Planck Research School with over 50 students, laboratory facilities, and a comprehensive service infrastructure consisting of Administration, IT, and the Scientific Services group (Grant Management, Graphic Design, Library Services, Press and Public Relations, Scientific Coordination and Welcome Center).